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A Japanese magazine is reporting that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is in a vegetative state after falling gravely ill following heart surgery.
According to Shukan Gendai, Kim visited a rural area earlier this month and collapsed, clutching his chest. Kim reportedly required a stent procedure, which inserts a tube into the heart to keep blood flowing freely, following the incident.
Shukan Gendai also said the surgeon in charge of Kim’s operation was not familiar with dealing with obese patients and was “too nervous during the operation, leading to delays that left Kim in a ‘vegetative state.'”
On Friday, Reuters reported that China has sent a team to North Korea — including medical experts — to advise on Kim, according to three people familiar with the situation.
The trip by the Chinese doctors and officials comes amid conflicting reports about the health of the North Korean leader. Reuters was unable to immediately determine what the trip by the Chinese team signaled in terms of Kim’s health.
A delegation led by a senior member of the Chinese Communist Party’s International Liaison Department left Beijing for North Korea on Thursday, two of the people said. The department is the main Chinese body dealing with neighbouring North Korea.
CNN reported this week that sources had indicated that they believed that Kim was in some sort of serious condition following a medical procedure:
The US is monitoring intelligence that suggests North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, is in grave danger after undergoing a previous surgery, according to a US official with direct knowledge.
A second source familiar with the intelligence told CNN that the US has been closely monitoring reports on Kim’s health.
Kim recently missed the celebration of his grandfather’s birthday on April 15, which raised speculation about his well-being. He had been seen four days before that at a government meeting.
Another US official told CNN Monday that the concerns about Kim’s health are credible but the severity is hard to assess.
President Donald Trump was asked this week if Kim was gravely ill.
Fox News anchor Bret Baier asked Trump, “North Korea, what can you tell us about the status of Kim Jong Un?”
“Well, these are reports that came out, and we don’t know,” Trump said. “We don’t know. I’ve had a very good relationship with him. I can only say this: I wish him well, because if he is in the kind of condition that the reports say, that the news is saying, that’s a very serious condition.”
“But I wish him well. We’ve had a good relationship. I’ve said it,” Trump said. “I’ve said it many times: If somebody else were in this position, we would have been right now at war with North Korea. And we are not at war. We are nowhere close to war with North Korea. I just have to say to Kim Jong Un, I wish him very good luck. Good luck. They came out with a very serious medical reports.”
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